Archive for the ‘job hunting’ Tag

Should I Be Asking These Questions on My Job Interview?

Oh blog. I have missed you. It’s not that I haven’t been here. Oh, I have. My computer and I have been attached at the hip (or lap?) for the past two weeks. With Fashion Week finishing up much of my time was devoted to finding my inner Anna Wintour and channeling the Kelly Cutrone within.  I also discovered (or found my misplaced) my love for Apolo Anton Ohno as he made his run for the Winter Gold Medal record. Unlike some celebrities, I’ve decided he and I have no future. He never sleeps. I need my eight hours (or 10….). Anyway. Back to reality.

So. Back to the world that I live in today. It’s a lonely not yet desperate, but coming to the point where I may start watching SNL reruns, unemployed world that I know many others live in. Since my hot streak of a few weeks ago I haven’t heard much more than a “we’d like to schedule a second interview but we haven’t set a date for that yet….” from any of the positions.

I can always say that there is someone better than me out there. But, what if there isn’t? I saw one position reposted this weekend. Thanks but no thanks, much? There’s clearly something wrong with my interview process…am I not asking the right questions? Do I not show that I know enough about the company/organization? What the heck?

Yes, it is true that I should always have questions prepared for a job interview. My favorite thus far is, “Is this a new position or is someone leaving?” Many of my interviews have been for new funded positions while one or two positions are for recently vacant positions. But, asking that question isn’t all that needs to be asked. What are some more that I should ask? Oh dear. Now I’m lost.

Oh, not to worry! That’s where #JobHuntChat comes in.  Much like #U30Pro this group of great tweeps has come together to chat (in 140 characters or less) about how to land the next great job. And, one of the questions asked this evening as “What types of questions should you ask on a job interview?” Here’s a handful of the ones I particularly liked (probably  because I should be asking them now).

How will I be evaluated?

I actually haven’t ever thought of this one…as many of the jobs I am applying for aren’t performance or sales driven..they’re people driven…if it gets done and documented you’re good

What is a typical day in the life of _____ position?

For many of the positions I have applied for the job is flexible and changes day to day….but for others it is not. Knowing what you are responsible for right off the bat is super important).

What type of developmental training dos your organization over (training, conferences, mentors, etc)?

For many organizations it is a learn as you go type of job that is indicual to the organization. If you don’t get the right training or if you are left out on your own it won’t be fun. Letting the organization know that you are willing to train will show them that you are interested in growing professionally.

What are some immediate concerns that your organizations needs addressed?

You are willing to take the iniative and are a go getter.  You are planning to get the things done that they need done. Do it!

How do you define success?

Some companies define it with sales, others define it by finished files. You need to know!

Where do you see your company in the next 5 years and how will this position help you get there?

This shows you that you are willing to stay with the organization for quite sometime (even if you aren’t!) and are not a job hopper. If they are willing to grow with you then you are a great professional position.

What is the company culture? Business casual or professional?

This gives you an idea of how everyone works. The organization already knows how they work (and how you can or cannot fit in). See if you can picture yourself at that empty desk after they say they dance on tables on Fridays or have Beach Day every other month.

Well. Now that I have some great questions to ask for my next job interview I have to get it! On to working on the cover letter, resume, networking, volunteering, never ending world that is the job hunt!

For more info on #JobHuntChat check out @CornOnTheJob‘s blog.

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Human Resources: Please Stay True To Your Word

I understand that it’s a tough world out there. I understand the Human Resource world is a busy world. Interviews, resumes, applications, meetings, conferences, etc.  I understand if you are interviewing hundreds of people that it is impossible to call them all back to say “I’m sorry you will not be moving forward in the employment process.” However, if you say, during the interview, “I know that waiting is hard and we will be in touch-whether we hire you or not- it would be nice to get a phone call to find out what the answer is.” Actions speak louder than words. That’s all I’m saying. If you don’t say anything about calling me, though, you’re alright. I still love you. Otherwise….continue reading (well continue reading anyway)….

Human Resources is usually the first impression of the company a potential employee gets on the company.  If the interview goes so-so and the HR person says, “Hey I’ll call you back no matter what,” and they end up calling and saying, “Hey sorry there was someone better than you.” I won’t hold that against them. I will keep them on my list of good companies and companies to apply for in the future, when there may be another better position for me. I may even pass on the name to others in my professional network. Their Human Resources department is reliable, dependable and stays true to their word. And so is the company! If, on the other hand they say they’ll call and say something and they don’t I probably won’t keep them on my list because they aren’t true to their word and reliable. Sure, it may be that one individual that I was working with – but they have to remember they are representing their whole company. And they just left a bad taste in my mouth. Their actions weren’t that great – actually kind of bad.

Many of the positions I have applied for have been in small organizations and companies. It’s a small victory even getting an interview. Some have even shown me the stacks of resumes they’ve gotten via Craigslist.  So- say from that stack – a small company interviews 13 of 100 resumes they received.

They interview people for two or three days. They also say they’ll call back these potential employees back no matter what.  In my estimation this type of phone call could last about two minutes. Just a quick, “Hi this is so and so from small organization. I’m sorry we won’t be proceeding with your application.” A few questions will be asked and a polite thank you will be exchanged.  Thirty seconds for a breather and then the Human Resource person will continue with the next person. That’s about Thirty Three minutes. Thirty Three minutes of your time Human Resources….that’s it. Like I said before, I understand your time is money and I want you to use your time wisely but can you use it to do some community relations work? Let the community know that you are true to your word – reliable, dependable,  a good person? It would just be nice to know there are still good people out there (I know there are some!)

I say these things because this has happened to be a handful of times. It irks me to know that there are probably a handful of other people that may have been waiting by the phone for the same “yes” or “no” answer that I was. Of all the job hunting, job interviews, thank you notes, and uncertainty that I have had to feel in professional life I have been told 4 times that I will receive a phone call about my professional fate. Of those 4 statements, I have only actually received 1 phone call back. So, HR professionals, stay true to your words because 3 organizations have lost 1 great voice due to bad actions.

When Will My Hot Streak Turn into a J-O-B?!

When does a hot streak turn in to a job? I mean seriously.  After the massive disappointment of the research position that I did not get a few weeks (or was it last week?) ago I kept my head up, as I said I would, and applied, e-mailed, and faxed.

That work has paid off, as I have had five interviews scheduled within the last two weeks. That’s exciting! Is it because I started off a new year or is it just that it’s my time? Whatever it is I am not overly excited, because we have seen where that has gotten me.

I have read plenty of blogs and have attended plenty of webinars throughout my unemployment and know plenty of skills, points, and questions to ask to make me stand-out in the interview process for example:

Dress Well: Dress appropriately for the business (organization) you are interviewing with. I’m not going to wear a three piece suite to interview with a small Christian based non-profit- maybe black pants and a nice sweater and heels.  Now, if I do go to interview with a corporation then the suite is good.

Bring Copies: Copies of resumes, writing samples, reports, references, etc. The latest interview I had was with three people. I had three extra copies just in case. The director had a copy, but the other two prospective bosses did not have copies. Bazinga! They had copies.  Interview before this one I brought reports to show a prospective research position even though they didn’t ask me to bring them.

Know the Company: Look at the website, see if they have a facebook or twitter account and see if they have any upcoming events that you can discuss.  Don’t get too gritty though, they don’t want stalkersunnless the job title is “Official Company Stalker.” They will love that you have taken interest in the company.

Ask Questions: After learning about the company you’re sure to have questions. Is the company growing? Is this a new position? What is the company culture? Casual Friday? Happy Hour? Just kidding about the Happy Hour business.

Write Thank-You Notes: Thank them for the time. Many people see hundreds of people for one position. Others are making special time for you, especially if it is for a small organization. I remember setting up interviews for my last employer for a very specific time. If the prospective employee could not make the interview they wouldn’t get the interview. It’s that simple. Time is money people! Thank them for the time!

So, when in the world will my time turn in to money? I mean, obviously someone has noticed me. My cover letter and resume are getting noticed. And I know what to do.  Just answer me this world, when will this interview hot streak turn into a job?

Exploration and Renewal During the Job Hunt

Unemployment is a great time of exploration and self renewal. It gives me time to explore new ideas and new paths. The last time I was unemployed (or semi unemployed) was exactly a year ago. I got lucky, as a job landed in my lap a few months later. I explored job options then, but not as much as now. since the job probably isn’t going to fall in my lap again.

I’ve always pondered the idea of being a writer. Not a novelist, I don’t have big enough ideas to be a novelist (as most of my ideas revolve around falling in love with an imaginary Prince). But, my idea of writing revolves more around blogging, reporting and general snark of life. It could happen.

I’m about a year in to my luxury fashion blogging experience with b5media. I love the freedom, the growth, and the few connections I have made. I have not fully explored the networking, the PR, or even the social media aspect of the job. And, I know that’s the next step. And part of exploration. Maybe my next step isn’t to be the CEO of a non-profit. Maybe it’s to be fabulous writer who writes in her PJs and midnight about Lady Gaga’s crazy get-ups. Who knows.

I’m exploring this option and taking a step towards it by not just looking at Freelance Writing postings, but actually responding to them. I am putting together writing samples. I am entering contests to get me into New York Fashion Week.

Yes, a contest. You heard me. And that’s where I need your help. GStar Raw, a great urban fashion company announced a great contest earlier this week. They are taking one person from Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Flikr to New York Fashion Week Spring / Summer 2011 as a Raw Reporter.  The winner needs to exude what they believe to be a “raw reporter” and that includes getting a pretty high number of votes by early February. Early February. That’s a while. So, if I can build a great cushion early then it will be smooth sailing (and exploring by February); or at least that’s my idea.

So, to get me to the Northwest Passage of the job hunt exploration (did that actually exist?) I need you all to click this link and vote for me. If I can win this may be a new great beginning!

Sleeping in on Christmas Morning and the Job Hunt

I’ve heard numerous times that looking for a job is a new full time job.  But, that doesn’t mean that looking for a new job doesn’t have to be fun or even slightly entertaining. It’s been estimated that for every job posted online that there are about 6 applicants.  That’s on average. What about highly coveted positions, or positions that have fun titles? They have to be higher than 6.

And some days, that’s just disheartening. I just want to go to sleep! After about a month and a half on the job hunt (during the holidays, nonetheless) I’ve come to the conclusion that sleeping in isn’t that bad of an idea.

Searching for a job is like a full-time job. When I see a new job posting it’s like Christmas morning. It’s even better when it matches my qualifications and I can write a new cover letter and resume to send-off to the person hiring for the position. But, do you really think that the person in charge, whether it be an actual HR Manager or an Office Director is sitting at their desk waiting for the perfect candidate to send them a pretty ribbon covered resume and cover letter? Hardly. They’re continuing on with their daily business and will get to your e-mail when they have a chance.

So, when you find that perfect job posting don’t get too giddy. Unless, of course, the deadline to get the application in is at midnight that night.  This is because of the recency effect.

As much as we hate to admit it, we all fall prey to the recency effect – remembering the first things we see and the last things we see.  I’ve come to believe that sending my resume towards the closing date is more effective than sending it at the beginning just because it’s one of the last things the person in charge is going to see, and remember. If you fall in the middle it’s just a big old mess  – even if you are a stellar candidate.

Based on the recency effect, sleep in! We’re adults and Christmas isn’t going to be over at 7am! Even if you know that job posting is there at midnight, take a Lunesta (no, don’t do that!), drink a glass of warm milk, count sheep, or whatever it is that puts you to sleep and think about the cover letter and resume in the morning. The person in charge will get there when they get there. Their presents arrive when they find their perfect candidate – at the deadline.

And then, you can jump up and down with joy after you get off the phone with the person in charge who set you up with an interview after you slept in and waited to send in your resume.